It's always a shock to me when I see people in my office not using all their vacation days. You get to not show up to work and still get PAID! Why would you not take advantage of that? I don't know about you, but I always take every single hour I've got.

According to a new survey from Project Time Off, Americans used an average of 17.2 vacation days last year, which is the most we've used since the year 2010. If we break it down by state, workers in Colorado, Virginia, and Arizona took the most days off, while workers in Montana, Delaware, and Rhode Island took the least.

Out of all 50 states, Iowa came in at number 28. Around 55% of the working population has unused vacation days, which is about 7,236,795 days total. All of those unused vacation days add up to about $1,217,097,431 in "untapped economic benefit." 

The survey also talks about how many of our vacation days we use for travel. It states:

"The State of American Vacation 2018 found that workers who use the majority of their vacation days for travel are significantly happier than those who travel less or not at all. Americans taking all or most of their vacation days to travel report being 20 percent happier with their personal relationships and 56 percent happier with their health and well-being..."

Apparently Iowans haven't gotten that memo, because we were in the bottom three states when it comes to traveling. We only use 31% of our vacation days for travel, which totals about 5.4 days a year. The only states using less than us are South Dakota and Missouri. Come on, Midwest!

Using your vacation days to travel could actually be beneficial when it comes to your work. The article says that, "those who travel with all or most of their time are 28% happier with their companies and 24% happier with their jobs."

I think the obvious reason people aren't traveling is because it can get expensive, but I feel like it's good to get away at least once a year, even if it's just something small. Every vacation day I take is for travel, but it's rarely for a relaxing vacation. I use mine to drive 8 hours back home to Michigan to visit my family. Trust me, living back at home with my mother for 4 days is NOT my idea of relaxing (love you, mom!).

You can read more results from the study HERE.

[Via Project Time Off]